Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, now running for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, will address the Democratic National Convention this evening in Charlotte, N.C.
Kaine is locked in a tight race with Republican George Allen, who held the Senate seat before losing it to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006. Allen did not attend last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., choosing instead to campaign inVirginia. Both candidates marched in the annual Labor Day parade in Buena Vista on Monday.
Kaine appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program in Charlotte today and was asked about reports that some Democrats from swing states were afraid to come to the convention and decided to campaign at home.
“Not only are you coming here and embracing the president, embracing the national party – you’re speaking tonight” host Joe Scarborough said.
Kaine, who stepped down as chairman of the Democratic National Committee to run for the Senate, said: “I am who I am and I’m not changing it.”
“I’m a supporter of the president and I want him to get re-elected,” Kaine said. “I’ve got a great Virginia delegation here that I’m going to be spending time with. And I was the DNC chair that picked Charlotte to host this convention — I wanted to come here and get some love.”
Kaine also talked about the wars in Iraq and Afhghanistan and tried to paint the contrast between Republican and Democratic strategies for balancing the budget and boosting the economy.
Allen’s campaign issued a news release saying Kaine will be ” basking in the applause of liberal special interests and Democrat leaders for his record of championing Washington’s failed agenda.”
“Tim Kaine is right at home with Democrat party loyalists praising him for championing President Obama’s failed tax, borrow and spend agenda while leaving Virginians behind,” said Allen campaign spokeswoman Emily Davis. “As Governor, Tim Kaine chose to Chair the Democratic National Committee instead of focusing his sole attention on Virginians struggling to find jobs, afford college and make ends meet. Virginians won’t applaud Tim Kaine today when remembering how he lost 100,000 jobs, made ‘significant cuts’ to education, and tried to raise taxes on Virginians making as little as $17,000 a year. Virginians can’t afford six more years of Tim Kaine putting Democrats’ Washington agenda ahead of Virginians.”
– Michael Sluss